Know the Etymology: 221
Place Name of the Day: Thursday, 23 August 2012


Amu地u-kumbura

அமுணு கும்புர
Amuṇu kumbura

Amu'nu+kumbura

The field that could be sown with one Amu地a of paddy

The field irrigated by a temporary dam


Amu地a (singular), Amu地u (plural) 1. A cubic measure of grain, usually of 8 Pa池ai, equivalent to 5 or 6 bushels (Sinhala); A measure of land that could be sown with one Amu地a of paddy, usually 2 or 2 ス acres of land (Sinhala); Ava'nam: A cubic measure of paddy as well as measure of land (Eezham Tamil, Vanni and East); Ampa地am: A cubic measure of grain (Tamil, DED 263); Ama地am, Ava地am: A measure of 20,000 arecanuts (Tamil, DED 263); Ava地am: A weight measure (Malayalam, DED 263); Amba地a, Amma地a: A measure of capacity (Pali); Arma地a: A measure of one dro地a (Sanskrit, CDIAL 688). 2. Amu地a: (singular), Amu地u (plural): A temporary dam for diverting or stopping the water of a stream for the purpose of irrigation, the bank in a paddy field (Sinhala); Amu地u-bandinawaa: (verb) To construct a dam, to stop up a watercourse to irrigate the fields (Sinhala); Am, Aam: Water (Tamil, DED 187); Ampa地am: Gutter for rainwater, narrow watercourse (Tamil, Changkam Diction). See column on Ampaara, Ampanai
Kumbura (singular), Kumburu (plural): Paddy field (Sinhala); Kampalai: Agricultural tract (Tamil, DED 1237); Kampa値ar: Inhabitants of an agricultural tract (Tamil, DED 1237); Kambula, Kambu値a: A buffaloa race in a rice field (Tulu, DED 1239); Kamba値a: Feast given in a field at transplantation time (Kodagu, DED 1238); Daily hire or wages (Kannada, DED 1238); Kemparai: Grain basket (Tamil, DED 1243); Kamam: Paddy field (Eezham Tamil); Kamam: Bounty, fullness (Tamil, Changkam Diction); Kamata: Threshing floor of a paddy field (Sinhala); Kaman: Forest (Gondi, Pengo, DED 1228); Kama地: Forest (Manda, DED 1228); Kam地a: Park, grove, forest (Kuwi, DED 1228); Kambare: Uncultivated ground (Maltese, DED 1228). Also see column on Muthaliyaar-kamam


In Sinhala, the word Amu地u (Amu地a in singular) is used in two shades of meaning.

In one of the shades, Amu地a is an old cubic measure of grain equivalent to 8 Pa池ai. It is 5 bushels of paddy in Kandyan region, but 6 bushels in the Colombo region.

Amu地a as a cubic measure for native produces of the island was widely found used even in the colonial records of the Portuguese and the Dutch.

In the sense of meaning as a cubic measure for paddy, the word Amu地a also stood for the space measure of a cultivable land that could be sown with one Amu地a of paddy. It was roughly two acres in the Kandyan region and two and a half acres in the Colombo region. There were similar usages for the word Koaddai in the Tamil of Tamil Nadu.

In the Eezham Tamil usage, especially in Vanni and in the East, the word Ava'nam is mentioned even today by the old generation to mean a measure of paddy or a measure of paddy field.

In the other shade of the meaning, Ama地a in Sinhala is related to hydraulics. It is a temporary dam for diverting or stopping the water of a stream for the purpose of irrigation or the bank in a paddy field.

The Sinhala usage, Amu地u-bandinawaa means to construct a dam or to stop up a watercourse to irrigate the fields.

The word Amu地u/ Amu地a comes in both the shades of meaning in the Sinhala place names.

In both the shades, the Sinhala word is a cognate of the Tamil word Ampa地am.

The Tamil cognate Ampa地am as a grain measure, with derivatives such as Ama地am and Ava地am, is listed as a Dravidian word (DED 263).

Ampa地am as a gutter for water or a narrow watercourse, found used in the Changam diction and listed in the old Tamil lexicons, is related to the root Am/ Aam meaning water in Tamil/ Dravidian (DED 187) as well as in Sinhala.

In the sense of meaning connected to water, Ampa地am also means a boat in Tamil (Choodaamani lexicon 11: 182). Another example for boat and cubic measure having a homonym is the word Va値値am (boat, eating or drinking vessel, a large grain measure, a large grain basket, DED 5315).

It seems that the Tamil/ Sinhala cognates Ampa地am and Ama地a in both their shades of meaning, cubic measure and hydraulics, are related to the stem Am, meaning water.

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Note the following usage examples:

Ampa地am as a measure for paddy:

哲ellin ampa地a a値avai virinthu u池ai poakiya aar patham nalkum (Pathittuppaththu 66:8-9)

நெல்லின் அம்பண அளவை விரிந்து உறை போகிய ஆர் பதம் நல்கும் (பதிற்றுப்பத்து 66:8-9)

Immeasurable quantity of food coming from the gift of overwhelming Ampa地a measures of paddy

Grain merchants measuring with Ampa地am:

Ni池ai koal thulaaththar, pa池aikkad paraaraiyar
Ampa地a a値avaiyar, engka地um thiritharak
Kaalam an池iyum karungka池i moodaiyodu
Koolam kuviththa koola veethiyum (Chilappathikaaram 14: 208-11)

நிறை கோல் துலாத்தர், பறைக்கட் பராரையர்
அம்பண அளவையர், எங்கணும் திரிதரக்
காலம் அன்றியும் கருங்கறி மூடையொடு
கூலம் குவித்த கூல வீதியும் (சிலப்பதிகாரம் 14: 208-11)

The street of grain merchants, where irrespective of seasons grains are heaped along with bags of black pepper, and where (the merchants) those who wield scales, those who are noisy with their Pa池ai measure (a smaller measure than Ampa地am) and those who measure with Ampa地am wander everywhere

Ama地am as measure for areca nuts:

撤aakku chuvanthiram pokkaayam u'lppada ama地aththukku moon池u maappa地amum (1614 CE, South Indian Inscriptions IV, 401)

பாக்கு சுவந்திரம் பொக்காயம் உள்ப்பட அமணத்துக்கு மூன்று மாப்பணமும் (1614 CE, South Indian Inscriptions IV, 401)

Areca nuts, inclusive of rights and taxes, three Maa-pa地am (of money) for one Ama地am (of measure)



Ampa地am as gutter:

哲ilavup payan ko値値um neduve地 muttaththu kimpurip pakuvaay ampa地am ni池aiyak kalizhnthu veezh aruvippaadu vi池anthu (Nedunalvaadai 96-97)

நிலவுப் பயன் கொள்ளும் நெடுவெண் முற்றத்து கிம்புரிப் பகுவாய்
அம்பணம் நிறையக் கலிழ்ந்து வீழ் அருவிப்பாடு விறந்து (நெடுநல்வாடை 96-97)

From the grand white terrace meant for enjoying moonlight, resembling the sound of a stream, rainwater would fall turbulently through the full gutter, the mouth of which is shaped like the gaping mouth of a shark.

Ampa地am as aqueduct, gutter or narrow watercourse:

哲eerp paththarkku ampa地am thoompu nearpa (Thivaakaram Lexicon 7:207)

நீர்ப் பத்தர்க்கு அம்பணம் தூம்பு நேர்ப (திவாகரம் நிகண்டு 7:207)

Ampa地am and Thoompu are words for aqueduct

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Kumburu (Kumbura in singular) is a popular word in Sinhala and a popular component in Sinhala toponyms, meaning a paddy field.

The word has no Indo-Aryan cognates and the closest cognate is Kampalai in old Tamil/ Dravidian, meaning a paddy field or agricultural tract.

Note the L > R; A > U and P > B changes that are typical between Tamil and Sinhala.

Kampalai, meaning an agricultural tract, is listed as a Dravidian word (DED 1237).

The word has several related words in Tamil and many other Dravidian languages, in connection to paddy cultivation.

For instance, Kampa値ar is people of agricultural tract and Kemparai is a grain basket in Tamil; Kambula is a baffaloa race conducted in a paddy field in Tulu and Kamba値a is feast given in the paddy field at the transplantation time in Kodagu and daily wages in Kannada.

The word Kamam, popular in Eezham Tamil and meaning a paddy field, is perhaps related to the root of the word Kampalai/ Kumburu.

A traceable root Kama means bounty in Tamil. Another traceable root Kam meaning profession, water etc in old Tamil as well as in Indo-Aryan, may need perusal.

Kamam and words connected to its root meaning forest, park, grove etc in other Dravidian languages Gondi, Pengo, Manda and Kuwi also should be noted in this respect, as forest and paddy field are known to have homonyms (Kaadu is one example). Maltese has a related word Kambare for uncultivated land. See table above.

Kamam and Kumburu for paddy field are peculiar to Eezham Tamil and Sinhala.

The Sinhala form Kumburu, with a rendering Kumpu池u, is also occasionally found used in the Eezham Tamil place names. See the examples of related place names.

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鄭ka地ikampalaimarutham (Thivaakaram Nika地du, c. 8th century CE, 5:899)

அகணிகம்பலைமருதம் (திவாகரம் நிகண்டு, 5:899)

The words, Aka地i, Kampalai etc mean agricultural tract



適a値amarkampa値ar kazhanik kadaiththavar peyarea (Thivaakaram Nika地du, 2:139)

களமர்கம்பளர் கழனிக் கடைத்தவர் பெயரே (திவாகரம் நிகண்டு, 2:139)

Ka値amar, Kampa値ar etc are names for people of the agricultural tract

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Amu地u-kumbura is a village in Mahara division of Gampaha district

* * *


Some related place names:

Amu地u:

Amu地u-goda: The bank/ hill/ village having cultivable land irrigated by a temporary dam; the bank/ hill/ village having a field that could be sown with one Amu地a of paddy; Gampaha division, Gampaha district

Amu地u-gama: The village having cultivated field irrigated by a temporary dam; Kundasale division, Kandy district; Ampanpola division, Kurunegala district; Wariyapola division, Kurunegala district; Polgahawela division, Kurunegala district

Amu地u-thenna: The place of a cultivation field irrigated by a temporary dam; The place of a cultivation field that could be sown with one Amu地a of paddy; Ratnapura division, Ratnapura district

Amu地u-w誥iya: The bank or dam for irrigation and cultivation and serve as a pathway; The enclosure cultivated by irrigation from the temporary dam; Ipalogama division, Anuradhapura district. W誥iya: Bank of a river, pond, lake etc; artificial bank, dam, banks in the rice fields, which dam in the water and serves as pathways (Sinhala); W誥u: Road, path (Sinhala); W誥a: An enclosure of any kind, hedge, fence (Sinhala); Vaddai: paddy field enclosure (Eezham Tamil); from the root Va値ai, Vaddam (Tamil, DED 5313); Veddu: (verb) To cut, (noun) cutting (Tamil, DED 5478); Also stands for a break, barrier as in another Eezham Tamil word Mu池ippu for a dam.

Amu地u-wewa: The tank made by a temporary dam; The tank of the paddy fields irrigated by a temporary dam; The tank of the field that could be sown with an Amu地a of paddy

Amu地u-kole: Sinhalicised from Amu地u-ku値am: The tank made by a temporary dam; The tank of the paddy fields irrigated by a temporary dam; The tank of the field that could be sown with an Amu地a of paddy; Thalawa division, Anuradhapura district

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Kumburu:

Kumburu-gamuwa: The village of paddy fields; Kolonna division, Ratnapura district

Goda-kumbura: The paddy fields in the bank or hill; Balangoda division, Ratnapura district

Yaal-kumbura: The fields that could be sown with a cartload or 20 Amu地ams of paddy (roughly 50 acres); Bibile division, Moneragala district. Yaala: Measure of capacity, cartload, twenty Amu地ams of grain (Sinhala)

Linda-kumbura: The paddy fields irrigated by a well; Bibile division, Moneragala district

Wangkiya-kumbura: The paddy fields in the bend of the river; Welimada division, Badulla district. Wangka: Bend of a river, winding course of a stream, curve or bend in general (Sinhala); Vangku: hole, hollow; Vaangku: (verb) To bend; (noun) Bending (Tamil, DED 5212, 5335, with cognates in several Dravidian languages); Vangkam: Ship, due to the shape? (Tamil); Vangka: Crooked, bend of river (Pali/ Prakrit, CDIAL 11191)

Maa-withi-kumbura: Probably, the fields for the cultivation of Maa-vee variety of paddy; Welimada division, Badulla district

Hela-yaal-kumbura: The fields in the hillock or declivity where a cartload of paddy could be sown; Welimada division, Badulla district. Hela: hillock, declivity (Sinhala)

Korade-kumbura: The paddy fields having an enclosure or a sort of fence preventing cattle trespass; Uva-paranagama division, Badulla district. Koratu: enclosure; Koratuwa: a sort of fence in order to prevent cattle trespass (Sinhala); from the type of fences made of wooden logs and planks; Ko池adu: Trunk of a lopped tree, stump, piece of wood (Kannada, Telugu DED 1842); Ku池adu: block of wood, wooden plank (Tamil, Malayalam, DED 1842); Koradoo: log, stump (Tulu, DED 1842); Ku池andu: log (Malayalam, DED 1842)

Aarawa-kumbura: The paddy fields of the river; Lunugala division, Badulla district

Ekiriyan-kumbura: Probably, the paddy fields in the gravel or pebble ground; Rideemaliyadda division, Badulla district; Akura: gravel, pebble (Sinhala)

Pile-kumbura: probably from Peella-kumbura: The paddy field irrigated by a gutter or aqueduct. Peella: Spout, aqueduct, conduit, gutter (Sinhala); Peeli: Water trough or spout for irrigation (Tamil, MTL, Winslow); Note the Eezham Tamil place names, Peeli-ku値am (tank getting water by an aqueduct, Oddusuddaan); Peeli-aa池u (the stream functions as an aqueduct, Poaratheevuppattu) and Peeliyadi (the locality of an aqueduct, Trincomalee Town and Gravets).

Pal-kumbura: The paddy field in the mire; Harispattuwa division, Kandy district. Pal: mud, mire; (adjective) old, corrupt, rotten (Sinhala); Pazha: Old, decayed etc (Tamil, DED 3999, cognates in several Dravidian languages); Paazh: ruin, damage, corruption, waste etc (Tamil, 4110); Pa値値am: low land, ditch, pit etc (Tamil, DED 4016)

Podi-vee-kumbura: The paddy field for the cultivation of a small-grained paddy; Ja-Ela division, Gampaha district. Podi-vee: a kind of small-grained paddy (Sinhala); Podi: small (Tamil, DED 4259, cognates in several Dravidian languages)

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Kumpu池u:

Kumpu池up-piddi: The high ground in the paddy field stretch; a locality in Veala地ai in the Kayts Island, Jaffna district; Kuchchave値i division, Trincomalee district

Kumpu池u-moolai: The paddy-field corner; Koa池a値aippattu division, Batticaloa district

Kumpu池u-ve値i: The paddy-field expanse; Ea池aavoor-pattu division, Batticaloa district

First published: Thursday, 23 August 2012, 18:20

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